Heaven Belongs to Me
Michael Angelo Tata

While in some circumstances
wispy, white, ethereal blobs
that drift on by may be
construed as clouds, in
others, they aren’t quite
miasmas of sublimated water
vapor waiting to break, but
ghosts or sails or KKK
sheets hung out to dry.

At the laundromat, a
whack-job named Cowboy
introduces himself to me
and asks if I have a king.
Actually, he’s kind of
charming, and quickly
inveigles his way
into my left ventricle.

“No,” I reply, “but very
often the ineffable sensation
that an Elizabethan scepter
has been placed somewhere
awkward and uncomfortable
overtakes me. This moment
is frequently accompanied
by an efflux of pearls and
rubies, although the latter
are growing more rare
in occurrence and, in fact,
I seem to have advanced
to a new equipoise at which
there is only pleasure and
pleasure and pleasure—
pleasure squared, ultra-
pleasure, jouissance of
jouissance. Get my drift?”

I don’t know if Cowboy
got it, but when I think
of cowboys or kings, it
is to place myself at the
center of a dissipative
eddy in which it is the
strange prerogative of
testosterone to vaporize
into musky clouds which
swell and swell until there
is a downpour of saline
and I am washed onto
the beach of some remote
island like a heartwrenchingly
vacuous naufragé with pearls
for eyes, blonde hair spilling
over my face in exhausted
swoops of Egyptian cotton,
mouth open just enough
to convey an expression
of sainthood and surfeit,
the sun a gold stripe on
my silky latissimus dorsi,
waves licking my tan line
and whispering untranslatable
strings of adjectives into
my ears so that I might
know firsthand the
incomparable beauty
of dying a saint’s death.